The saying revenge is a dish best served cold didn’t exactly apply because of the sunny, 73-degree weather Saturday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park, but vengeance certainly was sweet for the Gastineau Channel Little League Majors All-Star team.
Juneau jumped on the board quickly and Guy Bean pitched four innings of no-hit baseball as the Majors cruised to a 10-0 win over Ketchikan in a mercy-rule shortened Alaska District 2 Baseball Tournament championship game.
“Guy was amazing today,” manager Spencer Storie said. “He pitched great and the kids really showed up and hit well. That was one of our best games hitting so far and I can’t say enough about Guy’s pitching.”
Storie said the team talked about the 9-8, pool-play loss to Ketchikan on Wednesday but didn’t dwell on it. Juneau’s pitching staff struggled and gave up four runs in the first inning of the first matchup.
“We felt like we gave it to them a little bit in the first inning, spotting them four runs,” he said. “We’re happy with this and we really thought we could beat them. (The kids) did it.”
The win earned Juneau’s Majors a spot in next week’s best-of-5 state championship series against Anchorage’s Abbot-o-Rabbit All-Stars, also at Adair-Kennedy, for a Western Regional berth.
Michael Cesar went deep in the first inning for his first home run ever in a game and Bean was unhittable, striking out six and recording five put outs – 11 of the 12 outs it took for the win. The lone ball that made it past the mound went right to shortstop Bryce Swofford for a routine 6-3 put out.
“It was really exciting and a good experience,” Cesar said. “The first game, we had a lot of errors and mental errors. This game, we got good pitching and good hits, and everybody played well.”
“It was really fun and exciting,” Bean agreed. “We were thinking about (the earlier loss to Ketchikan) during the Prince of Wales game, too, and we wanted to avenge the loss.”
Ketchikan had runners at first and second with one out in the first inning after a hit batter and a walk, but Bean struck out the side to end its only threat of the game.
Juneau wasted no time in the bottom of the first, with Zeb Storie blooping a first-pitch single into centerfield.
Cesar then launched a 1-2 pitch deep over the fence in left and just like that, Juneau was out in front 2-0 before Ketchikan had recorded an out.
“It was a fastball down the middle,” Cesar said of the pitch he sent out a few feet inside the left-field foul pole.
Kasey Watts followed with a single up the middle, went to second on a wild pitch and took third on a fly out by Bean before scoring on a single to left by Swofford.
Jacob Dale then singled to right and Corbin Neville worked a full count into a walk to load the bases. Donovan McCurley drew a walk to force in a run, giving Juneau a 4-0 lead out of the gate.
Bean continued to mow down Ketchikan in the second, getting Sean Summers out at first after a dribbler back toward the mound before striking out Shane Menzies and Jack Carson to end the inning. Through the first two innings, Bean threw 36 pitches and struck out five hitters.
Cesar ripped a single to left to lead off the second and scored on an RBI triple into the corner in left by Bean, who then scored on an RBI groundout by Swofford for a 6-0 lead after two.
Ketchikan went with a new pitcher, Jack Carson, to start the third, but he didn’t fare much better. Neville drew a leadoff walk and Storie reached on an error. Cesar was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Watts drew a walk to force in a run.
Bean then drove in two runs with a stand-up double to the fence in center, and Swofford plated Watts with another RBI groundout, giving Juneau a 10-0 lead after three.
Bean recorded three straight 1-3 put outs to end the game.
“My straight fastball and the two seam (were working for me),” Bean said of his good day on the hill. “The guys were backing me up and Kasey and Owen (Swanton) were catching all of the balls I was throwing at first base and did great.”
Cesar went 2-for-2 with two RBIs and three runs scored to lead the offensive charge. Storie went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a stolen base, Watts had a hit, a walk and scored twice, Bean had a double, a triple and three RBIs, and Swofford had a hit and three RBIs. Corbin Neville walked in his only two appearances and scored a run.
Juneau faces Anchorage at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the opener of the best-of-five state championship series.
Friday’s semifinal matchups weren’t close, with Ketchikan blowing past Wrangell 20-0 and Juneau rolling over Prince of Wales 13-1.
Juniors coast into title game
Juneau’s Juniors topped Prince of Wales 15-5 Friday in their District 2 Baseball Tournament in Craig, earning a spot in today’s championship game.
Juneau led 2-0 heading into the third, when it added five runs, before adding two, two and four runs in the final three innings.
Matt Cunningham went 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored, RJ Markovich went 2-for-4 with a walk, two RBIs and a run scored, Nathan Klein went 2-for-2 with a home run, two walks, two RBIs and five runs scored, and Jared Markovich went 3-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and a run scored.
Jack Withington had just one hit but it was a big one — a grand slam — and he finished with five RBIs.